November 15, 2014
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif:
I am delighted to welcome our special guest and dear brother, President Ashraf Ghani, to Pakistan – his second home!
I offer to President Ghani, and the distinguished members of his delegation, the most cordial greetings of the people of Pakistan.
We hold President Ashraf Ghani in the highest esteem for his bold vision and transformational leadership. We recognize his immense contribution to Afghanistan’s progress in the past, and the vital role he is destined to play in its future.
I take this opportunity to reiterate our warm felicitations to President Ghani and the Afghan people on the peaceful transfer of power and the formation of the national unity government. This outcome owes much to the statesmanship of the new Afghan leadership and would further strengthen Afghanistan’s stability and national unity.
President Ghani has assumed office at a crucial juncture – as Afghanistan goes through security, political and economic transitions. He has already embarked on a comprehensive domestic reform program – centering on good governance, state accountability to citizens, social justice, poverty reduction and public welfare.
Successful completion of these transitions would ensure the emergence of a secure and prosperous Afghanistan, which we all support. We have no doubt that his resolve and determination, President Ghani will succeed, Insha Allah!
The bonds between Pakistan and Afghanistan are special. Our fraternal ties are fortified by common faith, kinship and shared history. We have common woes and common joys. We grieve together and rejoice together. Our security and future prosperity remain interlinked.
I have consistently emphasized Pakistan’s foremost priority of building a “peaceful neighborhood”. As its fundamental element, I have vision of a strong, comprehensive and enduring partnership between Pakistan and Afghanistan – contributing to the security and prosperity of our two nations, and reinforcing efforts for peace and development in the region. I am gratified that President Ghani has a similar vision.
We both recognize that we have a historic opportunity to work together and build a stronger relationship – based on mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, and marked by mutual trust, understanding and close cooperation.
Our two countries face formidable challenges – including extremism and terrorism, a precarious security environment, and trans-national crimes. I am convinced that we can effectively meet them, through common resolve and common endeavors.
The opportunities are immense. We have yet to fully realize the vast potential of our peoples, and of our bilateral cooperation. This is an opportune moment to make a determined beginning in that direction.
President Ghani and I have had in-depth consultations on all these issues today.
I reaffirmed that a peaceful, stable, united and prosperous Afghanistan is in Pakistan’s vital national interest.
I also reaffirmed Pakistan’s support for the intra-Afghan reconciliation process that then new government is initiating. This process, we agreed, must be fully Afghan-led and Afghan-owned.
I underlined Pakistan’s commitment to comprehensively upgrade cooperation in all fields – including border security and defence, Afghanistan’s reconstruction and rehabilitation, capacity building, parliamentary exchanges, and cultural, educational and sports links.
We reaffirmed our resolve to forge a robust economic partnership – by expanding trade, promoting investment, improving infrastructure, building road and rail links and enhancing energy collaboration. The two Finance Ministers have signed the document that advances the realization of this vital goal.
We also agreed that connectivity and regional economic cooperation are the indispensable elements of our engagement. We envision trade, energy and communications corridors through trans-regional initiatives like CASA 1000 and TAPI Gas Pipeline.
Afghanistan is about to commence the “transformation decade”. At this pivotal moment, I assure the brotherly people of Afghanistan that Pakistan will stand by them and support their endeavors for peace and progress.
I thank you. I now invite President Ashraf Ghani to make his remarks.
President Ashraf Ghani:
نحمده و نصلی علی رسوله الکریم و اما بعد،
اعوذ بالله من الشیطان الرجیم،
بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم
Excellency Prime Minister, distinguished members of Pakistan’s government, the Press,
First of all, let me convey the heartfelt sympathies of the Afghan people for the tragedy in Waga. I called you on that day; I again extend our deepest sympathies. As people were constantly suffering the impact of conflict, we feel your pain and the pain is shared, and our determination, joint determination to put an end to the suffering of our people, should not be doubtful. We therefore welcome your assurance that a peaceful, stable Afghanistan is pivotal to enabling Asia to realize its historic opportunity of forming the continental economy.
I also want to congratulate your Excellency on ensuring that democracy is being consolidated in the Muslim world, the all parties’ consensus regarding consolidation of the democratic processes in Pakistan, and our successful elections in Afghanistan and formation of the government of national unity are signs that the rest of the world needs to understand that the Islamic world is on the move against ISIS and other threats and the focus should be on consolidation of democracy in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
I also bring you the greetings of my partner in the government of national unity and all members of the government of national unity, particularly Dr. Abdullah Abdullah. The policies of the government of national unity are united, focused to ensure that five circles of our foreign policy -the neighborhood, the Islamic world, our Western NATO-ISAF, the Asian world and international organizations and private capital are all aligned in a single vision and that vision, Mr. Prime Minister, is where Pakistan continuously is our partner and I want to welcome the enormous steps that have been taken in the last three days to achieve progress on the economy. We have overcome obstacles of thirteen years in three days, thank you and I want to thank Minister Dar, Minister Khan and Minister Zakhilwal for enormous achievement in this regard.
What we have agreed on is a shared vision where Pakistan and Afghanistan will serve as the heart of Asia to ensure that economic integration in Asia becomes a reality and does not remain a dream and today we have taken fundamental steps to ensure that South Asia connects with Central Asia and Central Asia connects to South Asia. Our Vision of Afghanistan as a roundabout and as a corridor of energy, not just through electricity and power but also gas pipelines and oil pipelines all relate back to regional economic integration and I think, you and I together and our governments and our people can take enormous steps in those.
We also discussed that we must overcome the past, we will not permit the past to destroy the future , because of it we began a comprehensive dialogue on security so that all dimensions of our mutual security can be discussed, can be delineated, benchmarked processes can be arrived to get confidence. The most fundamental part, Mr. Prime Minister, for which I thank you is that:
1. We, the governments and people of Afghanistan and Pakistan, are going to shape the narrative – the narrative that is going to define our future and that in this narrative, our people, particularly the poorest of our people, the most neglected of our people are going to become stakeholders in a prosperous economy and in stable and peaceful countries. Our fates are linked because terror knows no boundaries. Any instability in Pakistan, affects us and any stability in Afghanistan affects you and that’s where our common understanding of new threats will enable us to delineate pathways where actions will be concrete and will speak louder than words and it is this focus, this renewed attention on ensuring that whatever we agree on is implemented and implemented consistently that is the core difference.
I want to thank you for your gracious hospitality, for enabling my team and I to visit Islamabad in a wonderful time to ensure that we lay down the foundation of what our people desire most-peace, security, prosperity and I am looking very much forward to receiving you in Kabul.
I know, you were in Kabul with some neighbors, and it is extraordinarily empowering there in Paghman in the nice days of, the only difference is that you don’t have to now go to watch certain movies in Kabul , they will be accessible, that we look upon your next visit to prepare and to take even more gigantic steps, very systemically and with a clear sense of direction and vision, we will move forward in the region and the world would be much richer as a result of our common endeavors and understanding.
Thank you, Mr. Prime Minster!